EMMITSBURG, Md. – Owen Stewart (Howell, N.J./St. Rose) went 6-for-6 with four runs scored and two RBI’s and Andrew McGee (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) struck out a career-high 12 batters as the Monmouth University baseball team defeated Mount St. Mary’s, 13-7, Friday afternoon at Straw Family Stadium. With the win, the Hawks move to 13-11 (6-3 NEC), while the Mountaineers fall to 6-17 (2-7 NEC). The Hawks piled up a season-high 22 hits in the victory.
Stewart put on a hitting clinic all day, singling to center field, shortstop, through the right side of the infield and to left field, while also doubling twice, once down the left field line and the other to right field. Jake Gronsky (Danville, Pa./Danville Area), Chris Perret (Morris Plains, N.J./Morris Catholic) and Joe Bamford (Washington, N.J./Warren Hills Regional [Northampton C.C.]) added three hits each. Gronsky and Perret each hit a solo home run, while Perret scored three runs and Gronsky scored twice. Jon Guida (Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater Raritan), Steve Wilgus (Woolwich, N.J./Gloucester Catholic) and Kyle Perry (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) added two hits each. Guida drove in two runs, Wilgus scored twice and Perry scored a run and drove in another.
McGee hurled eight innings of five-hit ball without walking a batter. He’d thrown 96 pitches through eight innings and the Hawks led, 13-2, so Monmouth Head Coach Dean Ehehalt pulled him an inning shy of what would’ve been his fifth nine-inning complete game in his last six starts.
Thomas Williams took the loss for Mount St. Mary’s, allowing four earned runs on nine hits and two walks in three-plus innings. He struck out five. Zach Smith led the Mountaineers’ offense with three hits, while Mo Moriarty’s bases-clearing triple in the ninth gave him a team-high three RBI’s. Jay Knight and Zane Bard also added two hits apiece.
The Hawks immediately got on the board in the first, as Wilgus singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a throwing error by the catcher. He’d score on Gronsky’s single up the middle to stake Monmouth to a 1-0 lead after one inning. Monmouth tacked on another run in the third, loading the bases on two singles and a fielder’s choice on a sacrifice bunt attempt, before Perry’s sacrifice fly plated Stewart.
The Mount got both runs back with two outs in the bottom of the third. A Smith bunt single preceded Knight’s triple to center for the first run. Knight later scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. But the Hawks wasted no time recapturing the advantage on solo home runs by Gronsky and Perret on the first two pitches of the fourth inning to chase Williams from the game. Singles by Stewart, Bamford and Guida loaded the bases with one out before Dan Shea (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) grounded into a run-scoring fielder’s choice to put the Hawks on top, 5-2.
Perret singled up the middle to lead off the sixth and Stewart followed with a one-out double to put runners on second and third. Following a groundout to third, Guida delivered a two-out, two-run single up the middle to give the Hawks a 7-2 lead.
Monmouth added six runs in the seventh to take a commanding 13-2 lead. With one out in the inning, Perry singled and Wilgus walked to put runners on first and second. Michael Locondro then plunked Gronsky and Perret consecutively to force in Perry and signal the end of his day. Chad Diehl came on in relief and immediately surrendered a two-run single to Casey Saverio (Ambler, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) before Stewart followed with a two-run double. Bamford rounded out the scoring with an RBI single to center.
The Mountaineers tagged Chris McKenna (Pine Beach, N.J./Toms River South) for five earned runs in two-thirds of an inning in the bottom of the ninth, before Frank Trimarco (Merrick, N.Y./Sanford H. Calhoun) came on to record the final out of the game.
Monmouth continues its road NEC series at Mount St. Mary’s with a doubleheader of seven-inning games on Saturday. First pitch of Game 1 is set for 1 p.m. at Straw Family Stadium in Emmitsburg, Md.